Asta

My writing group’s theme this year, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times already, is “The Supernatural that Walks among Us.” A lot of us write these sorts of stories anyway, so it should be a lot of fun.

I’d originally planned on working on my “Weirdness Magnet” story, but I think that one needs to gestate a little longer. Maybe for NaNo this year?

So instead, I’m going to work on a story for one of the characters from last year’s themed story (which happens to be the story that should be appearing in print this spring). Asta is a clockwork android who’s adopted the persona of a hardboiled detective. A cookie for whoever can guess where the name comes from.

I’ve experimented a little with Asta, trying to develop him a bit. I’ve toyed with the idea that, under stress, he switches into a “tough guy” mode, during which he becomes cocky and switches to his ’30s slang. But I have a feeling it might come off as forced and probably just confuse the reader rather than be an interesting character trait, so I’ll probably abandon that.

So far the only hard and fast rule I think I’ll stick with is that I’ll never tell an Asta story from his point of view. This adds a bit of a burden to the storytelling, because I’ll have to create a main character other than him for each story, but I think it helps solidify Asta’s outsider status. He’ll always stick out among humans, and be clueless about it. The problem is alleviated here by this being his origin story – the main character in this is the one who ultimately shapes the rest of his Asta’s existence.

It’ll also be a challenge because the first few minutes of his “life” are extremely dramatic, and it may be difficult to convey them without his perspective. You have no idea what I’m talking about, of course. 🙂

The other challenge is simply in writing a mystery. I love old noir films, so there are a number of conventions I know of that I can easily work into the story. But creating a convincing mystery is something I’ve never really done, though I think I had some degree of success with “Shades of Red.” I may hunt around for some of Dashiell Hammet’s short stories and see how it’s really done.

Add onto all of that the fact that it’s a period piece, set in the 1930s, and it’s going to be a hell of a lot of work. But I do love the character, so I’m hoping to have fun with it.